Author Topic: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!  (Read 6271 times)

Abe

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We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« on: September 01, 2018, 07:41:33 PM »
Congratulations everyone, we did it! The New York Times has an article on us with shout-outs to all the usual blogging suspects.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/01/style/fire-financial-independence-retire-early.html


marty998

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2018, 08:51:16 PM »
I like this article... it's one of the few that don't make us out to be weirdos, or don't interview and quote people who are taking FIRE to unrealistic extremes. The ones quoted here look like everyday people that can be emulated by a comparatively larger segment of the population.

The gist seems to be "FIRE looks like a normal, rational thing to do", which is nice for a change.

okits

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2018, 09:13:35 PM »
Cool article!  The point that work looks different than it did in previous generations and people are looking for more control over their lives is a really useful one.  Some people don't experience a lot of gratification in their jobs because they're never past worrying if the next contract extension will come through.  And some people never get to shut off if their employer expects them to be on call and available during evenings and weekends. 

+1 to the "non-weirdo" factor.  That was nice.

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2018, 11:28:57 PM »
I feel like this marks a snowball moment (when FIRE snowballs) - many more folks look up, look around at the reality around them, and get it, except that then a major recession in a year or two will scare people back into lowering their nose to the grindstone again. But the seed will have germinated.

Cranky

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2018, 07:59:11 AM »
I'm seeing a lot of mocking of this article, so the visitors may not all be friendly. ;-)

bacchi

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2018, 08:00:42 AM »
I wish they would have highlighted some of the FIRE folks who didn't so heavily monetize their blogs... My favorite people are ones like LivingaFI/Dr. Doom, who created awesome content, but then didn't cash in on it.

It's self selection.

We've all seen those interview requests here and on other forums, especially /r. If you're a fairly private individual/couple, why would you want your information in a NYT article?!?

Now, if you're a blogger looking for more clicks, you'd be all over that journalist.


bacchi

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2018, 08:02:06 AM »
I'm seeing a lot of mocking of this article, so the visitors may not all be friendly. ;-)

Where are you seeing the mocking?

Cranky

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2018, 09:23:38 AM »
I'm seeing a lot of mocking of this article, so the visitors may not all be friendly. ;-)

Where are you seeing the mocking?

Facebook.

And it is because of the focus on really high earners - that’s not relatable to a lot of people.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2018, 09:25:16 AM by Cranky »

Dicey

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2018, 10:11:30 AM »
Anyone else think it's kind of weird that Mr. 500 (or whatever his blogger superhero name is) moved to Longmont?  Uprooting your family, with young children, so you can fanboy on your favorite blogger?  That's one serious man crush on Pete.  I wonder if that is awkward for Pete. I kind of hope it is.   

I wish they would have highlighted some of the FIRE folks who didn't so heavily monetize their blogs... My favorite people are ones like LivingaFI/Dr. Doom, who created awesome content, but then didn't cash in on it.
Of course, it couldn't possibly be because Longmont is a nice place to live. Aren't downsizing and moving to a lower COLA two key options on the path to FIRE? Your criticism is mean-spirited and adds absolutely no value to the discussion. For the record, I know neither party personally and I don't follow the other blogger, but your comments, "Tom Smith" are in clear violation of Forum Rule #1. Move along, please.

MarciaB

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2018, 10:30:28 AM »
I appreciated the tone of the article, which wasn't incredulous ("look at those crazy kids who did the impossible!") or mocking ("yeah right, like anyone could actually do this - another scammer out to take you on a ride"). It just laid out some folks who did this thing...and you could maybe do it too...because it's actually doable.

Interesting for me was the couple who moved from Coronado, CA (super high COL) to Bend, Oregon (totally not the cheap seats! Just because it's Oregon doesn't make it affordable, and Bend is up there on the escalating/out of sight price range for our state).

MissNancyPryor

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2018, 10:36:10 AM »
So glad to read this today.  Love the non-weirdo factor part. 

Still trying to decide if I should tell my co-workers/staff/boss why I am quitting when I do pull the plug.  Articles like this make me lean into the 'hell yeah' side of announcing my early retirement.  You never know who you might inspire with such stunning news.  The complainypants whiners are going to complain and whine, and since I never have to interact with them again it might just be worth it to blow their hair back with FIRE awesomeness on my way out.   

bacchi

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2018, 10:41:57 AM »
I'm seeing a lot of mocking of this article, so the visitors may not all be friendly. ;-)

Where are you seeing the mocking?

Facebook.

And it is because of the focus on really high earners - that’s not relatable to a lot of people.
and that at least one person (and perhaps more) in the article had a spouse who still worked full time to support the family rather than live off the stash makes it even less realistic and inspirational for FIRE-wannabes. Especially the single ones. I still like the article and find it better than most but can see why many people would have problems with it. Especially when.the first person interviewed appears to be more a SAHP financially supported by his working spouse than a early retiree living off his stash.

There are more clicks in FIRE blogging. Who wants to read another blog about SAH parenting?

I'm sure the Jensens have enough to support their expenses but, yeah, I can see how it takes the shine off of their message:

"We retired in our 30s! Well, one of us works in a regular W2 job but, other than that, we're totally retired."

englishteacheralex

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2018, 11:09:55 AM »
I LOVE Livingafi/Dr. Doom and was kind of surprised he wasn't in the article. I think he's my favorite FIRE guy with a blog.

The pharmacist who FIREd was pretty interesting. I read his whole blog last night. Very well written and funny but hoo boy too cynical for me. Actually, the more I read FIRE blogs and get my head around the community the more I realize it isn't really my tribe...at least the ones that get the publicity. I've been following the movement for about three years now and for my money, MMM forum wins hands-down. So much more diversity here.

I just like reading about people who make alternative choices, I guess. The NYTimes article worried me because I kinda don't want frugality/high savings rate to go mainstream. I'm not sure why I feel that way. But I should stop worrying, because it probably won't catch on. Too hard. 

Abe

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2018, 12:23:33 PM »
The SAHP thing is a bit confusing... are you really financially independent if one of the spouses is working (unless it's their choice to continue doing so, which it seems in this case). If that's the case I'm FI already! Woo! They also didn't seem to really get the point that even people with less high-paying jobs can FIRE if they adjust their lifestyles. There are always caveats, but the juxtaposition of wealthy couples vs. "minimum-wage jobs" over-emphasizes outliers rather than the reality of an economy with a wide variety of incomes, a large fraction of which are in the FIRE-feasible range (median household income being 59k).

sol

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2018, 12:58:01 PM »
I feel like this marks a snowball moment (when FIRE snowballs) - many more folks look up, look around at the reality around them, and get it

I'm worried you're right.  I think this might be just like when the housing market was saturated with "buy and flip!" news coverage, or the dotcom bubble had  popular media proclaiming anyone can be a millionaire if they buy pets.com.  Is this the crescendo that signals the subsequent collapse?

We've been living in the golden age of early retirement.  We all saw it, we lived it, we benefited from it.  Now that everyone else is on board, does that mean the edge is gone?

maizeman

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2018, 01:53:09 PM »
I wish they would have highlighted some of the FIRE folks who didn't so heavily monetize their blogs... My favorite people are ones like LivingaFI/Dr. Doom, who created awesome content, but then didn't cash in on it.

It's self selection.

We've all seen those interview requests here and on other forums, especially /r. If you're a fairly private individual/couple, why would you want your information in a NYT article?!?

Now, if you're a blogger looking for more clicks, you'd be all over that journalist.

I have to admit I haven't seen those interview requests either here or elsewhere. I guess I just live in a sheltered section of the FIRE world.

Anyway, I share spartana's concern that it ended up with a group of interviewees that was skewed married and very high income relative to the distribution I see on the forums, but I suspect you are right that this results from ascertainment bias resulting from who saw and was interested in responding to those interview requests.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #16 on: September 02, 2018, 03:08:13 PM »
Yes sol, it's all over now.

FINate

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marble_faun

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #18 on: September 02, 2018, 04:35:18 PM »
The article is fine.  It's always a little strange when the mainstream catches onto a subculture you're a part of, but ultimately if MMM or the FIRE concept helps people gain more control over their lives, I'm happy the message is spreading.

I do wish they had focused more on the anti-consumerist aspects.  It's not just about saving and quitting your job, it's about identifying what you actually need in life and reducing waste.

Also wish they had interviewed at least a few people who weren't quite as wealthy, just to make it more relatable to a broader audience.

Cranky

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #19 on: September 02, 2018, 05:00:43 PM »
It was in the lifestyle section, and they were just very slightly making fun n of it, IMO. ;-)

I am perpetually bemused and amused by the idea that someone would move to Longmont for the Good Life. Once upon a time, you lived out there to get away from the crazy hippies in Boulder.

marble_faun

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #20 on: September 02, 2018, 05:23:33 PM »
It was in the lifestyle section, and they were just very slightly making fun n of it, IMO. ;-)

Perhaps very slightly. But they seemed to describe it in a basically appealing way, and offered leads for learning more info that it could bring in a wave of new recruits.

I do anticipate future Portlandia episodes gently mocking the FIRE crowd...

Dee

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #21 on: September 02, 2018, 05:46:47 PM »
Another thing I liked about the article and the way it portrayed the subject was the unconventional pose it used for Scott and Taylor Rieckens, with him sitting and her standing next to the chair he's sitting in, seeming to loom tall... which, in my view, is not a typical pose for heterosexual couples. (I pause here to consider that it may be because she is indeed taller than him [I don't know if this is the case] and this was a way to camouflage something about the couple that might mark them as atypical.) In any case, I really like the pose. And I will follow the links to the FI blogs I didn't know about prior to this article.

FireLane

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #22 on: September 02, 2018, 08:21:50 PM »
I'm worried you're right.  I think this might be just like when the housing market was saturated with "buy and flip!" news coverage, or the dotcom bubble had  popular media proclaiming anyone can be a millionaire if they buy pets.com.  Is this the crescendo that signals the subsequent collapse?

We've been living in the golden age of early retirement.  We all saw it, we lived it, we benefited from it.  Now that everyone else is on board, does that mean the edge is gone?

I agree trends have usually topped out by the time they appear in the Gray Lady. But I feel like what's going to save us is that FIRE, unlike house flipping or chasing the latest hot stocks, isn't a get-rich-quick proposition.

Lots of people may hear about the idea and start dreaming of early retirement, but I doubt that any except a tiny minority will ever have the discipline to make it happen. It takes effort to slash your spending, to resist lifestyle creep, to accelerate paying off your debt, to faithfully invest for years whatever the market happens to be doing.

Anyone who wants instant gratification will try it for a few days or weeks, lose patience, and go back to their old habits. If you're one of the people on this board who's been on the path for years, it's easy to forget just how out of the ordinary that is.

Pizzabrewer

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #23 on: September 02, 2018, 08:51:04 PM »
I feel like this marks a snowball moment (when FIRE snowballs) - many more folks look up, look around at the reality around them, and get it

I'm worried you're right.  I think this might be just like when the housing market was saturated with "buy and flip!" news coverage, or the dotcom bubble had  popular media proclaiming anyone can be a millionaire if they buy pets.com.  Is this the crescendo that signals the subsequent collapse?

We've been living in the golden age of early retirement.  We all saw it, we lived it, we benefited from it.  Now that everyone else is on board, does that mean the edge is gone?

The more the merrier. More people pouring money into index funds means further market gains.

ice_beard

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #24 on: September 02, 2018, 09:52:38 PM »
The article made this sound like this was a millennial only phenomenon.  That's news to me.
I'm doubtful the concept will go mainstream. 

Dicey

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #25 on: September 03, 2018, 12:23:21 AM »
Anyone else think it's kind of weird that Mr. 500 (or whatever his blogger superhero name is) moved to Longmont?  Uprooting your family, with young children, so you can fanboy on your favorite blogger?  That's one serious man crush on Pete.  I wonder if that is awkward for Pete. I kind of hope it is.   

I wish they would have highlighted some of the FIRE folks who didn't so heavily monetize their blogs... My favorite people are ones like LivingaFI/Dr. Doom, who created awesome content, but then didn't cash in on it.
Of course, it couldn't possibly be because Longmont is a nice place to live. Aren't downsizing and moving to a lower COLA two key options on the path to FIRE? Your criticism is mean-spirited and adds absolutely no value to the discussion. For the record, I know neither party personally and I don't follow the other blogger, but your comments, "Tom Smith" are in clear violation of Forum Rule #1. Move along, please.

I would actually recommend that you just block me if you don't find value in my comments.  Trying to get me banned seems frankly a little heavy-handed; I'm sure with 8,000 posts you could do it, but geez.  I'm not even sure what, precisely, you're objecting to.  I do wish the NYT article would have highlighted different people.  I would have liked to see people highlighted who are like Spartana, or Dr. Doom, or Sol, or Arebelspy, or Dandarc or literally a hundred other people on this board who I have learned from over the years. 

And no, I don't think anyone who frequents this board ends up in Longmont just because it's a nice place to live.  I actually find your uncharitable interpretation of my comments to be mean-spirited. Again, I think you should just block me if you find my comments unpleasant.  Have a great day.
What an odd response! I have no interest in banning you, and suggested no such thing. I merely asked you obey the forum rules. Your need to compare post numbers is equally baffling. As for blocking you, why I would need to? Huh...

Oh, wait! You think "Move along, please." is some kind of threat? It just means get with the program, go with the flow. We're reasonably nice here, in case you hadn't noticed. That's because of Rule #1 and some kick-ass mods.

johndoe

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #26 on: September 03, 2018, 06:26:01 AM »
I feel like this marks a snowball moment (when FIRE snowballs) - many more folks look up, look around at the reality around them, and get it
Is this the crescendo that signals the subsequent collapse?

Yeah, I'd imagine in a few generations when historians look back they'll identify this article as the turning point.

"From 1913 to 2018 Americans really struggled to maximize savings rates, but that all changed overnight with this groundbreaking article!"

FINate

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #27 on: September 07, 2018, 09:44:10 AM »
I wish they would have highlighted some of the FIRE folks who didn't so heavily monetize their blogs... My favorite people are ones like LivingaFI/Dr. Doom, who created awesome content, but then didn't cash in on it.

It's self selection.

We've all seen those interview requests here and on other forums, especially /r. If you're a fairly private individual/couple, why would you want your information in a NYT article?!?

Now, if you're a blogger looking for more clicks, you'd be all over that journalist.

I have to admit I haven't seen those interview requests either here or elsewhere. I guess I just live in a sheltered section of the FIRE world.

Anyway, I share spartana's concern that it ended up with a group of interviewees that was skewed married and very high income relative to the distribution I see on the forums, but I suspect you are right that this results from ascertainment bias resulting from who saw and was interested in responding to those interview requests.
The interview requests crop up fairly often and there was a recent request to be part of a FIRE movie which is being made. There are also requests to individual FIREees via pm so you probably wouldn't see that. I think91st of us are a extremely private though and don't want to be "outed" or feel we don't have anything new or interesting to say.  Especially if we weren't in the high income, FIRE fast crowd of current bloggers. No one wants to hear about a working class person saving half their lowish salary for 20 years and retiring at 40 in a very modest way.  Boring ;-).

True that. Live beneath means, save and invest, play the long game to FIRE. Not much I can add. That's the most bewildering thing about it, so simple yet those on the outside still assume there's some secret "trick" to it.

Mississippi Mudstache

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #28 on: September 07, 2018, 10:15:45 AM »
But I'm thinking who wants to read about how I'm eating rice and beans at home and going without cable? Probably no one. The high income earning couple who FIREs fast just by not buying a Ferrari or downsizing from the McMansion to a smaller house is much more interesting.

I disagree. I turn 35 this year. Still yet to crack $100K in income (aside from a single year in which I got a healthy annual bonus from one employer, then switched jobs and got a sign-on bonus from the new employer). I have 4 kids and a SAH spouse. I would have loved to find a FIRE blog that spoke to people who weren't earning $100K+ in their 20s. I don't read blogs any more, mostly just set on cruise control now. But it would have been nice to know that there were other people of modest means who were pursuing the dream before I discovered the MMM forum.

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SweetRedWine

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #30 on: September 07, 2018, 10:27:20 AM »
I wish they would have highlighted some of the FIRE folks who didn't so heavily monetize their blogs... My favorite people are ones like LivingaFI/Dr. Doom, who created awesome content, but then didn't cash in on it.

It's self selection.

We've all seen those interview requests here and on other forums, especially /r. If you're a fairly private individual/couple, why would you want your information in a NYT article?!?

Now, if you're a blogger looking for more clicks, you'd be all over that journalist.

I have to admit I haven't seen those interview requests either here or elsewhere. I guess I just live in a sheltered section of the FIRE world.

Anyway, I share spartana's concern that it ended up with a group of interviewees that was skewed married and very high income relative to the distribution I see on the forums, but I suspect you are right that this results from ascertainment bias resulting from who saw and was interested in responding to those interview requests.
The interview requests crop up fairly often and there was a recent request to be part of a FIRE movie which is being made. There are also requests to individual FIREees via pm so you probably wouldn't see that. I think91st of us are a extremely private though and don't want to be "outed" or feel we don't have anything new or interesting to say.  Especially if we weren't in the high income, FIRE fast crowd of current bloggers. No one wants to hear about a working class person saving half their lowish salary for 20 years and retiring at 40 in a very modest way.  Boring ;-).

True that. Live beneath means, save and invest, play the long game to FIRE. Not much I can add. That's the most bewildering thing about it, so simple yet those on the outside still assume there's some secret "trick" to it.
Someone recently asked me why I never blogged about my personal FIRE journey since there's not much out there in the FIRE-wannabe world about lower income ERees (especially the single or divorced femald's ones or single parents) that doesn't make them sound like crazy van dwelling hippies. But I'm thinking who wants to read about how I'm eating rice and beans at home and going without cable? Probably no one. The high income earning couple who FIREs fast just by not buying a Ferrari or downsizing from the McMansion to a smaller house is much more interesting.

Well, I'd like to hear more about your story.  I don't think there are enough successful single women telling their financial stories.  Sometimes it seems like everyone is paired up.  Say what you want to make your life sound boring, but there was a whole bunch of productive thinking and actions that got you to where you are now :-)

FINate

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #31 on: September 07, 2018, 10:33:58 AM »
But I'm thinking who wants to read about how I'm eating rice and beans at home and going without cable? Probably no one. The high income earning couple who FIREs fast just by not buying a Ferrari or downsizing from the McMansion to a smaller house is much more interesting.

I disagree. I turn 35 this year. Still yet to crack $100K in income (aside from a single year in which I got a healthy annual bonus from one employer, then switched jobs and got a sign-on bonus from the new employer). I have 4 kids and a SAH spouse. I would have loved to find a FIRE blog that spoke to people who weren't earning $100K+ in their 20s. I don't read blogs any more, mostly just set on cruise control now. But it would have been nice to know that there were other people of modest means who were pursuing the dream before I discovered the MMM forum.

I also think your perspective would be interesting. I should confess that I was high income and not *terribly* frugal until a few years before FIRE - actually think this makes my story terribly boring. "Meh, so the trick to FIRE is making a lot of money. Duh!" That, and my writing sucks and really have no interest in blogging :)

Your story could be compelling, though I totally get the privacy concerns as people will start prying looking for evidence that you received an inheritance or something, ANYTHING, other than working hard and saving a lot.


Yankuba

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #32 on: September 07, 2018, 10:59:00 AM »
I was disappointed they didn't allow comments for the article. These articles generate a lot of heated responses.

Over at Bogleheads they are mostly against retiring in your 30s with only $1 mil. They also say that you can't call yourself retired if you have a working spouse.

https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=4106293&sid=070cfbb061c86353d9b0cb846155942c#p4106293

« Last Edit: September 07, 2018, 11:04:13 AM by Yankuba »

FireLane

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #33 on: September 07, 2018, 11:04:29 AM »
Someone recently asked me why I never blogged about my personal FIRE journey since there's not much out there in the FIRE-wannabe world about lower income ERees (especially the single or divorced femald's ones or single parents) that doesn't make them sound like crazy van dwelling hippies. But I'm thinking who wants to read about how I'm eating rice and beans at home and going without cable? Probably no one. The high income earning couple who FIREs fast just by not buying a Ferrari or downsizing from the McMansion to a smaller house is much more interesting.

I think FIRE stories from people with lower incomes are more interesting!

I mean, most FIRE stories are boring, and they should be. "Spend less than you earn, invest the difference, repeat for many years" doesn't make for captivating reading. But people making $100K+ a year have it easy. They just have to live a normal middle-class life on an upper-class income and avoid truly ridiculous purchases. People who get to FI on lower incomes have done something a lot harder and more admirable.

Plus, it's good to know that not all of us are tech types (raises hand guiltily...) It's valuable to have examples of different paths to show to people who insist that FIRE is only possible for overpaid programmers.

bacchi

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #34 on: September 07, 2018, 12:26:17 PM »
I was disappointed they didn't allow comments for the article. These articles generate a lot of heated responses.

Over at Bogleheads they are mostly against retiring in your 30s with only $1 mil. They also say that you can't call yourself retired if you have a working spouse.

https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=4106293&sid=070cfbb061c86353d9b0cb846155942c#p4106293

Some of the comments are humorous re: living on "only" $40k/year:

Quote
- God forbid you decide / need to buy something

Because obviously $40k/year means you can't afford anything but rags on your back and a broken bicycle.

The concerns about health care are legitimate. Of course, saving even to a 2% SWR is not proof against bankruptcy from health care costs from a chronic condition, especially if ACA goes away and pre-existing exclusions reappear.

Mississippi Mudstache

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #35 on: September 07, 2018, 12:35:06 PM »
I was disappointed they didn't allow comments for the article. These articles generate a lot of heated responses.

Over at Bogleheads they are mostly against retiring in your 30s with only $1 mil. They also say that you can't call yourself retired if you have a working spouse.

https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=4106293&sid=070cfbb061c86353d9b0cb846155942c#p4106293

I'm no IRP, but to be fair, I struggle to view someone as "retired" when they have a working spouse, especially if they have young children at home, and doubly so when they depend on the working spouse for health insurance.

mm1970

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #36 on: September 07, 2018, 01:24:08 PM »
But I'm thinking who wants to read about how I'm eating rice and beans at home and going without cable? Probably no one. The high income earning couple who FIREs fast just by not buying a Ferrari or downsizing from the McMansion to a smaller house is much more interesting.

I disagree. I turn 35 this year. Still yet to crack $100K in income (aside from a single year in which I got a healthy annual bonus from one employer, then switched jobs and got a sign-on bonus from the new employer). I have 4 kids and a SAH spouse. I would have loved to find a FIRE blog that spoke to people who weren't earning $100K+ in their 20s. I don't read blogs any more, mostly just set on cruise control now. But it would have been nice to know that there were other people of modest means who were pursuing the dream before I discovered the MMM forum.
I agree.  I'd find spartana's story more interesting.

But I'm probably not normal.

plantingourpennies

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #37 on: September 07, 2018, 06:35:01 PM »

I'm no IRP, but to be fair, I struggle to view someone as "retired" when they have a working spouse, especially if they have young children at home, and doubly so when they depend on the working spouse for health insurance.

If you stay at home with kids and need your spouses' income, you're a stay at home parent. If you stay at home with a net worth of 2M+ and your spouse works for fun, you're retired. It's about optionality.

But I'm thinking who wants to read about how I'm eating rice and beans at home and going without cable? Probably no one. The high income earning couple who FIREs fast just by not buying a Ferrari or downsizing from the McMansion to a smaller house is much more interesting.

I disagree. I turn 35 this year. Still yet to crack $100K in income (aside from a single year in which I got a healthy annual bonus from one employer, then switched jobs and got a sign-on bonus from the new employer). I have 4 kids and a SAH spouse. I would have loved to find a FIRE blog that spoke to people who weren't earning $100K+ in their 20s. I don't read blogs any more, mostly just set on cruise control now. But it would have been nice to know that there were other people of modest means who were pursuing the dream before I discovered the MMM forum.
I agree.  I'd find spartana's story more interesting.

But I'm probably not normal.

Yes! The FIRE community needs more stories like Spartana's (lower income, single, etc.). To be fair, they are more frequent over at the early retirement extreme forums.


ScreamingHeadGuy

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #38 on: September 08, 2018, 05:06:56 PM »
I was boring and mainstream before it was mainstream. 

Now let me put on my hipster glasses (which I was wearing before they became hipster). 

Spud

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #39 on: September 09, 2018, 12:39:42 AM »
The entire online FIRE community is built on one concept, which is living below your means. You can only do this by spending significantly less than you earn. Remember MMM's words in the shocking simple math post from January 2012?

Quote
It turns out that when it boils right down to it, your time to reach retirement depends on only one factor:

Your savings rate, as a percentage of your take-home pay

If you want to break it down just a bit further, your savings rate is determined entirely by these two things:

How much you take home each year

How much you can live on

The way I see it, FIRE won't catch on until all the mainstream people get comfortable living off half of what they earn. If they can't do that consistently, month after month, year after year without feeling deprived or worrying about what others will think of them, then all the other stuff about investing and withdrawal rates, 401k and pensions, portfolios and tax etc is irrelevant because they simply won't be able to amass any money to pay off debt or invest.

Some people in this community like to get caught up in the numbers and equations etc, but really the only math that's important is detailed in the quote above.

I remember a posted from Jacob on ERE that said something to the effect of: Once you understand the very simple math, you should then devote far more time and energy to focusing on the anti-consumerism aspects of a frugal lifestyle, because that's the difficult bit for most people. That's the real barrier to living of half of what you earn.

That's why this shit will never go mainstream regardless of some article name dropping some high earning types who are relatively well known within this tiny corner of the internet.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2018, 12:44:57 AM by Spud »

OtherJen

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #40 on: September 09, 2018, 09:00:32 AM »
I always just want to laugh and point out that FIRE is just an alternative to mindless, consumerist spending. That’s it.

As Pete had pointed out: for the people who *can’t* afford to retire super early, frugality and mindfulness about money are actually MORE important.
This way of living is actually MORE beneficial to those who can’t get the kind of extreme results that high income earners can get. For many, “early retirement” might mean being able to retire by 60 instead of 75. Think about the magnitude of that impact on someone’s life. 

Whenever someone criticizes the goal of FIRE, I reply “take just a moment and contemplate for a second what the actual alternative is...working longer to be able to spend more mindlessly...”

This.

We’re not a high-income household ($75-80K per year pre-tax), so some of the threads on this forum are completely foreign to me. But that doesn’t mean that we haven’t benefitted significantly from a lot of the information here. We’ve always been told by our families and peers that we wouldn’t be able to retire, Social Security would be gone by the time we hit our 60s, etc. Since getting our act together in the last year or so, we’ve paid off all consumer debt except the last couple thousand of a low-interest car loan. Soon, we’ll start adding that payment to mortgage principal. We now have emergency savings and have opened a Vanguard traditional IRA in addition to existing retirement accounts. We know that we can easily cover all our regular expenses without debt and no longer lose sleep over money. We’re now looking at retiring at 60 (~20 years). That’s a HUGE change.

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #41 on: September 09, 2018, 09:27:04 AM »
But I'm thinking who wants to read about how I'm eating rice and beans at home and going without cable? Probably no one. The high income earning couple who FIREs fast just by not buying a Ferrari or downsizing from the McMansion to a smaller house is much more interesting.

I disagree. I turn 35 this year. Still yet to crack $100K in income (aside from a single year in which I got a healthy annual bonus from one employer, then switched jobs and got a sign-on bonus from the new employer). I have 4 kids and a SAH spouse. I would have loved to find a FIRE blog that spoke to people who weren't earning $100K+ in their 20s. I don't read blogs any more, mostly just set on cruise control now. But it would have been nice to know that there were other people of modest means who were pursuing the dream before I discovered the MMM forum.
I only eked past the $100k mark once in my career and I didn't retire until I was 54. Before MMM sprang to life, I devoured The Tightwad Gazette. Once blogs were born, I found "The Frugal Girl" and "The Non Consumer Advocate" enormously helpful. They are both still going strong, and I still read every post, despite being almost six years post FIRE.

OtherJen

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #42 on: September 09, 2018, 09:49:05 AM »
But I'm thinking who wants to read about how I'm eating rice and beans at home and going without cable? Probably no one. The high income earning couple who FIREs fast just by not buying a Ferrari or downsizing from the McMansion to a smaller house is much more interesting.

I disagree. I turn 35 this year. Still yet to crack $100K in income (aside from a single year in which I got a healthy annual bonus from one employer, then switched jobs and got a sign-on bonus from the new employer). I have 4 kids and a SAH spouse. I would have loved to find a FIRE blog that spoke to people who weren't earning $100K+ in their 20s. I don't read blogs any more, mostly just set on cruise control now. But it would have been nice to know that there were other people of modest means who were pursuing the dream before I discovered the MMM forum.
I only eked past the $100k mark once in my career and I didn't retire until I was 54. Before MMM sprang to life, I devoured The Tightwad Gazette. Once blogs were born, I found "The Frugal Girl" and "The Non Consumer Advocate" enormously helpful. They are both still going strong, and I still read every post, despite being almost six years post FIRE.

I love “The Frugal Girl” but hadn’t heard of “Non Consumer Advocate”. Thanks for the recommendation!

Cranky

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #43 on: September 10, 2018, 05:27:40 AM »
I really like "The Non-Consumer Advocate"! I wish she'd write something every day.

I also like "Life After Money" which was discussed here a few years ago and a lot of people weren't very impressed, but her life is a lot more like mine that say, MMM's is.

OtherJen

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #44 on: September 10, 2018, 06:30:26 AM »
I really like "The Non-Consumer Advocate"! I wish she'd write something every day.

I also like "Life After Money" which was discussed here a few years ago and a lot of people weren't very impressed, but her life is a lot more like mine that say, MMM's is.

Thanks! That blog looks like fun and a lot more relatable.

Linda_Norway

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #45 on: September 10, 2018, 06:32:04 AM »
I like the article (just read it now) and presenting this as an alternative for people with good incomes. Unfortunately they didn't also interview a retiree with a low income, which would have been really badass.

I assume that those who were interviewed were all FIRE bloggers who like to have themselves on display. I can image that @spartana isn't very keen on being pictured in a national paper. This can change thy way people treat her.

I assume that this article will lead some new readers to this site. And maybe, some people will start thinking about consuming less.

By the way, on Friday I was sitting in a bus beside an man I hadn't met before. We came to talk about environmental issues and over-consumerism. I mentioned that I was doing the opposite, working on early retirement and spending very little. He responded well and thought it was a good idea. So not everyone thinks we are crazy people.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2018, 12:49:18 AM by Linda_Norway »

Dicey

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #46 on: September 10, 2018, 08:20:22 AM »
The interview requests crop up fairly often and there was a recent request to be part of a FIRE movie which is being made. There are also requests to individual FIREees via pm so you probably wouldn't see that. I think91st of us are a extremely private though and don't want to be "outed" or feel we don't have anything new or interesting to say.  Especially if we weren't in the high income, FIRE fast crowd of current bloggers. No one wants to hear about a working class person saving half their lowish salary for 20 years and retiring at 40 in a very modest way.  Boring ;-).
Spartana's route to retirement involved making a military committment of roughly twenty years. These articles draw too many naysayers. If dear Sparty were to agree to an interview, she'd be hit with a barrage of 'reasons" why her story not helpful to others, because it's "too late" (or too whatever) for them to replicate. She'd also give up her privacy. Who needs that? The fact is, she capitalized on the opportunities available to her at the time and made them work to her advantage. Every one of us made thousands of choices to get to where we are today, proving it can be done by virtually anyone with sufficient determination. Who needs to be criticized by random strangers on the internet?.Sparty's already had to cope with one crazy-ass weirdo, why risk another? Nope nope nope.

It's important to realize that the authors of articles like these are just trying to earn a living, working for an entity that's just trying to make a buck. Just because someone wrote an article in a mainstream publication does not mean that the concept of FIRE is now mainstream. Who among us is looking for external validation anyway? Typically, the answer is primarily the people looking to drive traffic to their blogs. Otherwise, why open themselves up to a barrage of criticism or scary nut job stalkers?

Recent example: when Liz of "The Frugalwoods" published her book, there was a huge backlash on this very site. For a while, she valiantly attempted to respond to the stones thrown. Finally, the furor subsided with the passage of time, but man, for a while it was fierce. Just last week, she finally told the story of her massive struggle with severe postpartum depression after Littlewoods was born. Yup, she was grappling with that monster while the naysayers were beating the shit out of her.  And we're far more polite than the rest of the internet. It kills me that while she was suffering, total strangers were blithely and vociferously diminishing their accomplishments. How awful for them.

Privacy has great value. Once lost, it is difficult, if not impossible, to regain.

Spartana, you sadly have learned this harsh lesson. Though I hate that you have been forced to regroup*, even on this forum. No way would I criticize you for wanting to shield yourself and protect the life you worked so hard to achieve.

*Don''t tell Sam or Nords or any of the military folk, but your stories were the most relatable and inspirational to me and I'm sorry they're gone and the reason for that. I love that you stayed on post-FIRE, even if you post less than before. Your wisdom continues to be totally relatable, despite my utter lack of military experience  Understand that writing one's own story in a journal, even on line, is completely different that being interviewed by someone else for general publication.

Sorry if this is  ramble. I am writing under the effects of (good, post-FIRE type) stress and sleep deprivation. I've been thinking about this for some time and this way my first chance to respond.

Lews Therin

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #47 on: September 10, 2018, 09:36:04 AM »
I'd assume there's a silent minority of people who simply followed the recommendations from multiple blogs, and so have nothing new or interesting to add.

ME: Oh yea, I FIREd at 29, and aim for 20k spend yearly.
NYT: How?
ME: 50-70k salary average for 4 years, 20-40 for 4 years, and crazy amounts of FIRE blog reading.

NYT:.... You boring. Not news.

englishteacheralex

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #48 on: September 10, 2018, 09:57:53 AM »
The interview requests crop up fairly often and there was a recent request to be part of a FIRE movie which is being made. There are also requests to individual FIREees via pm so you probably wouldn't see that. I think91st of us are a extremely private though and don't want to be "outed" or feel we don't have anything new or interesting to say.  Especially if we weren't in the high income, FIRE fast crowd of current bloggers. No one wants to hear about a working class person saving half their lowish salary for 20 years and retiring at 40 in a very modest way.  Boring ;-).
Spartana's route to retirement involved making a military committment of roughly twenty years. These articles draw too many naysayers. If dear Sparty were to agree to an interview, she'd be hit with a barrage of 'reasons" why her story not helpful to others, because it's "too late" (or too whatever) for them to replicate. She'd also give up her privacy. Who needs that? The fact is, she capitalized on the opportunities available to her at the time and made them work to her advantage. Every one of us made thousands of choices to get to where we are today, proving it can be done by virtually anyone with sufficient determination. Who needs to be criticized by random strangers on the internet?.Sparty's already had to cope with one crazy-ass weirdo, why risk another? Nope nope nope.

It's important to realize that the authors of articles like these are just trying to earn a living, working for an entity that's just trying to make a buck. Just because someone wrote an article in a mainstream publication does not mean that the concept of FIRE is now mainstream. Who among us is looking for external validation anyway? Typically, the answer is primarily the people looking to drive traffic to their blogs. Otherwise, why open themselves up to a barrage of criticism or scary nut job stalkers?

Recent example: when Liz of "The Frugalwoods" published her book, there was a huge backlash on this very site. For a while, she valiantly attempted to respond to the stones thrown. Finally, the furor subsided with the passage of time, but man, for a while it was fierce. Just last week, she finally told the story of her massive struggle with severe postpartum depression after Littlewoods was born. Yup, she was grappling with that monster while the naysayers were beating the shit out of her.  And we're far more polite than the rest of the internet. It kills me that while she was suffering, total strangers were blithely and vociferously diminishing their accomplishments. How awful for them.

Privacy has great value. Once lost, it is difficult, if not impossible, to regain.

Spartana, you sadly have learned this harsh lesson. Though I hate that you have been forced to regroup*, even on this forum. No way would I criticize you for wanting to shield yourself and protect the life you worked so hard to achieve.

*Don''t tell Sam or Nords or any of the military folk, but your stories were the most relatable and inspirational to me and I'm sorry they're gone and the reason for that. I love that you stayed on post-FIRE, even if you post less than before. Your wisdom continues to be totally relatable, despite my utter lack of military experience  Understand that writing one's own story in a journal, even on line, is completely different that being interviewed by someone else for general publication.

Sorry if this is  ramble. I am writing under the effects of (good, post-FIRE type) stress and sleep deprivation. I've been thinking about this for some time and this way my first chance to respond.

Dicey! Totally! I read Liz's blog post last week and put the same thing together myself about her PPD and all the hate for her book on the internet. When the book came out and I started reading all the vitriol, I already felt bad for her with a new baby.

Yeah, the publicity of a blog/book about my own life sounds pretty horrible. Even being interviewed for a newspaper article sounds awful. You're the one who told me that you participated in an article about finances once and lived to regret it. I appreciated that advice and turned down a chance for an interview in a local paper on the strength of that advice. It's true that after enough time people tend to forget and move on, but I wouldn't enjoy the months of people noticing me.

FINate

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Re: We are finally boring and mainstream! Hooray! - FIRE in NY Times!
« Reply #49 on: September 10, 2018, 11:13:34 AM »
The NYT article is more even-handed than most that I've seen from big media. At least those profiled are not painted as complete weirds. At the same time it's clear we're far from mainstream.

It's very much written from the perspective of an outsider looking in with a sense that it's a problem to be solved. The tagline suggests that people FIRE because work is too stressful. Later it's suggested that the problem is lack of agency at work. Either way, the message is clear: FIRE is a reaction to negative forces rather than positive proaction. So we therefore need to make work less stressful and/or empower people at work to solve the FIRE problem. It is unwilling to accept that there are legitimate alternatives, that a life of meaning and purpose doesn't require working for a paycheck until old age (and consuming along the way). The end of the article further reinforces this with the anecdote about Mr Long and how maybe, just maybe, he was simply burnt out. The icing on the cake is the bit about his new "work" to watch 1000 movies.  This is nothing more than a thinly veiled criticism of the movement from an establishment threatened by those who no longer buy-in to the unholy union of consumerism and puritan work ethic that drives much of our economy. It's in the same vein as remarks I sometimes get, usually from older men, that I'm "like a stay at home mommy" (also incredibly misogynistic) or that I must watch TV or nap all day. Because only paid employment can provide fulfillment?
« Last Edit: September 10, 2018, 11:24:47 AM by FINate »